One of the things we do here at CatTail Studio Arts when we have the honor of selling a new pet dish to a customer is to ask for the story behind the name and a photo of the happy recipient to add to our blog roll. It is a fun way for us to see our handiwork in use and our customers can have the pleasure of seeing their pet posted on our blog. I can’t tell you how many times we receive a photo or a story and it puts an instant smile on our faces. Through ‘Customer Cat Tales’, we share some of our favorites with you.
In the case of Kismet (the cat bowl) , I had a smile on my face from the moment the order came in to our studio…long before I heard the actual story of Kismet (the cat).
The first time I believe I learned of kismet (the Turkish word meaning fate or destiny) was in 1993 when I saw Kismet (the 1953 Tony-award-winning musical which was a remake of the 1911 Edward Knoblauch play) performed on stage by our local church’s community theater. Using exclusively local talent to cast, produce, direct, market, choreograph, score and perform their shows, St James Community Theatre had been putting on an annual musical in Arlington Heights, Illinois every year since 1970. They still do. In 1993, their selection was Kismet (the musical). It was a great performance and many of our friends were involved in its success. I still remember it fondly; hence the smile on my face as I was making Kismet (the cat bowl).
When I asked for the story of Kismet (the cat), I assumed it would have something to do with fate and one’s destiny but I just wasn’t sure how. Then I heard the actual story. With a plot that includes love, loss, rescue and compassion, it was even better and more heart-warming than I had imagined. I share it with you today – Christmas Day – the same day Kismet (the play) opened in the United States back in 1911. Sit back and enjoy!
“About a year and a half ago, my husband’s new boss came to dinner and simultaneously horrified and thrilled us with tales of rescuing cats that had been abandoned or born feral at the marina where he ran a shop. I didn’t hesitate to offer my help. My husband needlessly reminded me that I couldn’t keep any of the cats because he is allergic.
Wouldn’t you know it? I fell hopelessly in love with the very first kitten I fostered, crying my heart out the day she was successfully adopted!
Since then we have found homes for 21 cats and kittens and spayed/neutered 26 cats. You can view our progress (and that sweet kitten; she’s the long-haired calico avatar) on our community Facebook page at Cats at the Cove. We still have 5 cats at the shop and 13–15 cats living in abandoned boats in the marina that we care for daily and are hoping to place in appropriate outdoor homes.
When spring came this year, we waited with crossed fingers, hoping that only a few kittens would be born in the marina after all our hard work. On May 24th, (I remember because it was my birthday) one of the marina tenants brought us a six-week-old kitten she’d seen near her boat. The kitten was paper-thin. I didn’t think he’d live through the night.
Two weeks later, when he finally started to put on a little weight, one of the women working in the marina office came running toward the shop. You could hear an unhappy kitten she obviously had cupped in her hands screeching from a block away. She told us over the frantic meowing that the kitten had been trapped and howling all night between the body and frame of a car parked in the marina. She wasn’t able to free it until she could see it in the morning light.
Both kittens were born feral and neither was too sure about humans. We kept them in the shop’s office and worked with them for hours every day and, by summer’s end, they were both extremely loving and playful with one another and us. Best of all: NO OTHER KITTENS WERE BORN! Our spay/neuter program at the marina was working.
The first kitten I named Marshmellow (intentionally misspelled) because he is sweet, fluffy, mellow and the white and tan colors of a toasted marshmallow. He was promised to a man but his situation changed and he had to back out. Subsequently, Marshmellow was adopted two times, for about 24 hours each, but neither situation worked. Finally, on the fourth attempt, a couple that sounded like a perfect match came to meet him and he found his forever home.
By then, it was October. Not wanting to leave the second kitten alone until after Halloween, I decided to bring him to my mobile office and continue to foster him. Of course, even though I had become pretty good by now at ‘steeling’ my heart, I fell in love. No one was more shocked than me when, on the second day of fostering, my husband (who has started allergy shots for other reasons) said that the kitten was actually pretty cool and, now that I had him, I might as well keep him!
I felt that fate must have been intervening all along to put me and this awesome kitten together…and so I named him Kismet.”